Affective Feedback as a Means of Social Control in Social Dilemmas Norbert L. Kerr Adam W. Stivers Brian Mund Michigan State University Dong Heon-Seok Daegu University Talk presented at the 13th International Conference on Social Dilemmas Kyoto, Japan August 20-24, 2009
Do we believe (and act like) the expressions on others’ faces really can harm us? • even when they only change their expressions--not their other behavior-- towards us? … Tennesee Williams, The Glass Menagerie
Punishments (e.g., fines, economic penalties) will deter defection; e.g. • E.g., Fehr and Gächter (2000), Bochet et al. 2005 • Social punishments also will; in particular • Social death penalty (ostracism or social exclusion) deters defection • E.g., Kerr (1999); Ouwerkerk et al. (2005); Cinyabuguma et al. (2005); Maier-Rigaud, Martinsson, & Staffiero (2006); Kerr et al. (2009) • Question: • Is a threat of full-scale exclusion necessary? • Will cues that foreshadow/signal social exclusion also lead to more cooperation? • even when such cues have no direct effect on one’s objective outcomes? • e.g., signs of social disapproval for defection (e.g., facial expressions of disgust or anger)?
ICSD 2007: Seattle • Study 1. If group members given the chance to purchase and display angry faces, the rate of cooperation was higher (especially if future interaction is anticipated) • Study 2. In response to a consistently cooperative partner, Ss became more exploitative; but if that partner also sent an angry face when the S was uncooperative, the reverse was true.
ICSD 2009: Kyoto • Q1: Will the effect of such facial feedback attenuate with experience (as Ss learn and come to trust that the partner never retaliates)? • To see, we doubled the number of trials (from 20 to 40) • Q2: Will positive facial feedback be as effective as negative feedback? • To see, we included negative, positive, and both • Q3: Will the effects of facial feedback depend on individual differences in cooperativeness (SVOs)?
Experimental Method Control/ No facial feedback condition: • Ss pretested on SVO (decomposed game measure) days before session • Ss played 40 rounds of 2-person public-goods game • Ss didn’t know how many rounds; • 9 token endowment each round; • Keep (defect) or Invest (cooperate) into a Group Account • Total contributions into the later earn interest • “interest factor” ≈1.5 (viz. 1<N(1.5,.25)<2) • Group account then divided equally between the two players • 1/12 chance of converting earnings to cash ($.50/token) for a randomly chosen round at the end of the study • Ss’ partner (actually the computer) played a Consistently cooperative strategy • viz. Partner played (3,4,5,6,7) with P(.10,.20,.40,.20,.10) • Partner’s behavior not contingent on S’s choices • S (and Partner) get full outcome feedback after every trial, but no communication
Facial feedback conditions: • Ss told that after each round, the Partner [but not the S] could purchase (for .5 token) a face to send to S • 3 conditions (differed in what Partner could and did do): • Negative/disapproving face • Positive/approving face • Both positive & negative faces • No association between Facial feedback & Partner’s allocations; Partner always was cooperative
Q2: Will positive facial feedback be as effective as negative feedback? A: Yes (when it conveys the same information about one’s partner’s preferences)
Q1: Will the effect of such facial feedback attenuate with experience (as Ss learn and come to trust that the partner never retaliates)? • No (at least across 40 trials).
Q3: Will the effects of facial feedback depend on individual differences in cooperativeness (SVOs)? SVOs had their usual overall effect … …but didn’t significantly moderate effect of feedback
Conclusions • We act like the expressions on others’ faces can harm us • even when they only change their expressions--not their other behavior-- towards us • We all (regardless of whether we’re more or less cooperative) show this sensitivity • we all use facial expressions (and many other behaviors) as cues that we are at risk for social exclusion/marginalization • and respond to those cues, even without explicit or overt threats of exclusion …